"Priscilla Stuckey shines a brilliant light on the relationship we long to cultivate with the deepest wellsprings of our wisdom and love . . . This is a groundbreaking book, written with extraordinary clarity, beauty, and radical honesty." —Gail D. Storey, author of I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award
In an age of materialism, language of spirit or spirits seems at best suspect and at worst alien or naïve. When Priscilla Stuckey begins hearing Bear’s voice, she is a writer and religious studies professor in her fifties. Though she enjoys communing with trees and birds and the land, she intellectually knows better than to try talking directly with spirit. Yet searching for the truth of her own identity leads her directly toward what she is most skeptical of. As Stuckey opens to her spirit animal helper and his affectionate, jovial wisdom, she begins to realize the slow dawning of faith. Tamed by a Bear shows one person responding to the call of her heart, which is also the call of Earth to all human beings today: to listen to a more–than–human wisdom so people can address the social and environmental crises facing the world.
At this moment, when the future of life on Earth as we know it hangs in the balance—threatened by climate change, species extinctions, and extreme economic inequality—the key to survival is found in answering one question: How can humans live more peaceably and sustainably with the rest of nature? The heart–opening conversations between Bear and Stuckey suggest a reinvigorating of nature–spirituality in everyday life. Their dialogues show an educated, thoughtful person grappling with her skepticism about Earth spirits and gradually saying yes to a call from beyond her intellectual understanding.
When the publicity tour for her previous book leaves religion professor and advocate of nature awareness Stuckey (Kissed by a Fox) feeling unmoored personally and professionally, she embarks on a shamanic guided journey. In these meditations, she encounters a "helper" in the form of a jovial, pleasure-loving bear. She records her disjointed, impressionistic conversations with Bear, structuring them for her reader around small personal crises in her life over the course of a year. Bear advises patience on her housing search and an encouragement to return to cheese after years of lactose intolerance, as part of a general encouragement to pay attention to our bodies, make time for pleasure, and not waste so much time worrying. Stuckey expresses frustration with people who assume Bear is just a projection of her subconscious, arguing instead that he is a force outside of her she has tapped into. While the details of her life will not apply to most, Stuckey's book is a fine model of the type of knowledge one can gain through a similar process.